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Good Reading

You Make the Earth Move

I am currently a middle-school teacher in Brooklyn teaching Earth Science to 8th and 9th graders. When I received my March alumni magazine, I was just ending a unit of study on earthquakes and the Earth’s interior. I was looking for a reading passage that I could use with my students to enhance our unit and, as if my thoughts were heard, Bruce Watson’s work was the cover story in the magazine!

I just finished reading and grading the article summaries written by my students and wanted to share some of their comments about Watson with you:

“Watson is described as determined, dignified ... and very outgoing. This is [also] the way I describe him because he never stops until he gets an answer.”

“Watson may not reach his results or conclusion, but who knows, maybe you can!”

“Bruce Watson ... is a person who is not afraid to experiment and he is one of the reasons we know so much about the Earth today.”

“It is said that Bruce’s experiments have elegance. If you think he’s great for that, then the Earth must be in good hands.”   

I would like to thank you for making the study of the Earth’s interior relevant and more un-derstandable, and doing it in a way that seems interesting and cool to 9th graders! Perhaps Bruce Watson’s story lit a spark in one of my students that will lead them into the study of the Earth sciences.

Michelle White ’93
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Instrumental in TERRA

I just finished reading the March issue. I was very interested to see the article about RPI alumni working on Terra. I work on CERES, which is one of the in-struments flying on Terra. I’m part of a large team of research-ers that will be processing and analyzing the data that CERES provides. My particular area is analyzing the effect of cloud inhomogeneities on the information that is inferred from the CERES measurements
( tom.html).   

I also run a K-12 educational outreach project for CERES: the S’COOL (Students’ Cloud Observations On-Line) Project (

There are similar large teams for the other instruments. Al-though I don’t know any, I would be very surprised if there are not other RPI alumni on some of the other instrument science teams.

Lin Hartung Chambers ’85
Hampton, Va.

The Network Works!

It was refreshing to read the success story regarding the Rensselaer network of alumni in the March 2000 issue (“Staying Connected”). Affinity groups are an excellent way of leveraging the alumni base.   

Over the years I have often heard colleagues espouse the value of their alma mater’s network in helping them realize career goals, make business connections, or find new employees. RPI’s alumni network has been less structured and harder to locate. For instance, my tran-sition from aerospace to the communications industry was enabled, in part, by RPI alumni; however, the connection oc-curred through happenstance rather than design.  

As a result, I am pleased to see the alumni office introducing new online networking tools, as well as creating alumni interest groups based around professions.   

Keep up the good work!

Michael V. Laraia ’82
Newtown, Pa.

We’d love to hear from you! To provide space for as many letters as possible, we often must edit them for length.

Please write to:
Rensselaer Magazine
Office of Marketing and Media Relations
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY 12180, or e-mail, or call (518) 276-6531.


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